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New to LEGO (I am embarrassed, but I need help)
I am a 30 year old mom with young girls. They are three and have Duplo, so recently we stopped at a LEGO store to check things out and bought a small space shuttle model. They love space shuttles, so I just picked it up. I built the model with a little bit of their help because they wanted to help me. It was sooooo much fun for me. I had no idea how much fun it is to build with LEGOs. I never was exposed to the toy growing up. I loved it so much that I bought a $150 dollar Harry Potter LEGO set for myself. I loved building it. Honestly, I don't know what do next. I am embarrassed to ask, but how do you play with LEGOs? Do you keep rebuilding models? Do you mix models? I would hate to loose pieces from an expensive set. Do you try to modify models? Should I get some general blocks and get creative? I am wondering how other people play with them and how to do teach your kids to play. My girls love getting creative with Duplo and they love playing with my built models, but how to I encourage them to continue when they graduate to real sets? What advice can you give me.
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I think the only answer is there is no answer, you should do what makes you happy, build, re-build, combine sets to enhance or just MOC. I love building things for my daughter and it is great watching her play away and I always let her play with my set once built as well. If you get drawn in totally you will probably end up doing a mix of things, but with young kids in the house that's the fun :)
At their age, if you want to encourage continuing with the creativity, I would suggest just getting the generic brick boxes, which comes in many sizes and colors. (see http://brickset.com/browse/themes/?theme=Bricks and more&year=2012 for example) There will be pictures of various things that may help give them ideas, but you can keep reminding them that they can build whatever they want. Interestingly, the young kids seem to be better at this in general than older ones, who often get too caught up in things having to be "perfect" or needing a specific piece instead of just making do.
I'd probably keep that Harry Potter set segregated so you keep all the pieces of it intact. It's way above their age range anyway, so 5 years down the line it will be great to introduce it to them.
This is one example of how somebody started out. It worked for me, but it may not for others.
Your question "How do you play with LEGO" is the exact same question I am embarrassed to ask of some occasionally. I enjoy building sets and once built it goes on display. There are times where I have the opportunity to meet with friends to design and build what we like using loose bricks. When some refer to 'playing' with LEGO, I conjure up visions of grown men and women literally providing role play for their minifigs. Does that happen??
Flump, I don't know if other adults role play, but I have tons of fun playing with my kids.
I feel like I've discovered a whole new world. I'm totally planning which set I'll buy next.
The stereotype of "grown ups playing with Lego" is just that, a sterotype. If it makes you happy, knock yourself out with it.
There are several great creator sets that you may want to look at, they come with instructions to build three sets out of the same box of bricks.
The Lego Master Builder Academy might interest you, it shows various ways to build with Lego in a series of lessons.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Lego!!!
Be ready to spend a heap of money. Now you've started, they'll be no going back as you are now officially hooked. :-) Be sure to log in on a regular basis to make sure you make the most of the many deals and discounts available.
This is a really friendly forum with plenty of help for you to spend your money on Lego very efficiently, as well as chats and ideas about all aspects of the product.
But it's clear that everyone likes to do different things, and different things at different times.
Sometimes there's nothing more relaxing for me than sorting a dismantled set into my wider collection, which I'm sure will think is very weird.
Generally, myself, I like to try to think of Lego as a material for creating art, just like pencils or paint. Of course to get that Lego, often the best thing is to buy existing sets, and once you've got them you may as well build them!
With regards your children. One suggestion and something I've enjoyed tremendously recently is to build together. After about the age of 4, they may be able to start following basic instructions - there's usually something simple they can do even if it's just minifigures. So you can build the more advanced bits, whilst they build people, animals, or little features. Me and my 5 year olds built Alien conquest HQ ( #7066 - by the way when you see that # on Brickset forum, click on the number and the details of the set on Brickset will appear) a few weeks ago, and it was perfect with plenty of bits that they could cope with, whilst I built most of it.
Welcome and enjoy.
Admin note - you actually need to have a space before the # for it to work! Fixed now :-)
And yes, to the OP, stick around, you can save a lot of money by being a regular here, there are great deals to be had on Lego if you pay attention, it can be an expensive hobby if you're not careful. :)
I want to address this section of your post.
One daughter didn't start Lego until she was 5, and her first set was the Village Toy Shop.
I started my son with a very small set at 3 1/2, and he quickly jumped to 300 piece sets.
Your girls may be different, but they key elements I have found with my girls
- The theme has to be something they enjoy. This can be difficult, depending upon your kids' interests. When they wander around the store it is very easy to gauge if their are sets or lines they are interested in.
- They want female minifigs in the set. This can also be difficult. You can supplement with female minifigs, but for my older girls it really was important that the sets had female minifigs.
- Discover if they are more drawn to sets or simply building. All of my kids love sets.
My girls were both highly drawn to Harry Potter. They also love the Holiday Village line. They have enjoyed Friends, but not as much as HP.
The best thing to do is gauge your kids interest and ability to put together a set. I have found that by 5, most kids can start putting together smaller sets. Some kids can put them together before then. Start with sets that have 100 or less pieces, and then go from there. The small Friends sets may be a good 'gauge' when you are ready to let them try one to see if they are ready.
Also... Just keep construction toys in their path. Even if they aren't ready for Lego yet, even something like Melissa and Doug Unit blocks can peak interest in building.
Make sure you pace yourself as this hobby can be quit addictive. If you like Harry Potter, I would recommend getting as many of those sets as possible as they are getting phased out. Since you are lucky to be near a Lego store, you should definitely join their VIP program. Also stay tuned to this website for deals and sales as most everyone on this forum never pay full price for their addiction.
Lego is pretty remarkable in that the toys hold their value pretty well as long as they are not too roughed up, so buy as much as you want and you can usually sell them at the price you paid (Bricklink or Ebay).
For you, one of the useful things about buying Lego's own designs, rather than just generic bricks, is that the techniques of building are implicitly taught within their own models. You may find it useful to put together Creator models, and then graduate up to Lego's sets for older teenagers and adults, like the modular buildings.
Note, this depends on the child, though.
I have one child that does NOT like generic brick building, but adores the Winter Village line and HP line.
If you saw the large Pick-a-brick cups at the Lego store, then you know how many Lego they hold. I was told that the grab bags hold about 1 1/2 the amount of lego the large cup holds. If this is true, you pay $8.00 for a whole lot of Lego... and some really fun pieces in colors you might consider rare do show up from time to time :)
Also recall the above when interacting with your kids, they may very easily NOT share your specific likes or the likes of their siblings, accept it and let them enjoy the aspect they like of the hobby, if any.
Also I'll leave you the a link to a Flickr photostream of a builder that I consider one of the better inlayed mosaic builders, she doesn't do the traditional Hey I'm doing a photo like representation, she inlays her designs into MoC's (My own Creation), http://www.flickr.com/photos/eilonwy77/ or as I think of her, the Mistress of the Cheese Slope. If you get a chance check out her photostream, she has a fairly wide range of creations and I love just abouit every one of them. Some creations she builds for herself, other things are built for her kids.
Really there are a LOT of talented builders out there and it'd be impossible to list or link to them all but eilonwy77 if one that I never hesitate to point folks to.
Like others have said there is no right or wrong way to enjoy Lego!
If you like your lego clean and tidy, I'd also advise having some lego for them and some for you and don't mix them.
With respect to the topic of this thread, no need to feel embarrassed as Lego is something you should love and enjoy the most as its a wonderful hobby and makes the kids learn better and the families to bond closer. Thats my honest opinion. I am a 38 year old father with a 8 year old son and my wife never liked Lego due to it being expensive and then taking up so much space and sorta like a waste of time. But the moment me and my son made her build a Lego set (some City building) she loved it!
So you see, Lego is for all ages, and genders. So now, all our stuff is sorted out nicely, packed up, and waiting to be played whenever we have a chance. So my advice is to manage to get more and more bricks from Buckets and Creator sets, and maybe buy some Friends sets as that is a big hit with girls. And Duplo is a great theme and their Princess line is cool.
To be honest do what the hell you want with it. There is as the others said no real answer.
Although @Flump I would consider making your own creations playing. Whether its building a cave or space ship your still doing whats its meant for using your imagination to create your own things.
Similarly, dont worry about letting the kids play with your best sets, any bricks you lose can be replaced using bricklink as well.
Other than that all I can suggest is just do whatever you feel like. I think you may have fun 'modding' - modifying your sets, just messing about with changing things - that can be fun. You might need a few sets though.
One tip I can offer is to stick to similar themes, so that they are likely to go together. I (and many other adult fans) love potter stuff for the tan and sand green (great colours!), and also because I love messing with buildings. So if you get more sets, try and stick to buildings and earthy colours and you can be sure the bricks will work together and you can start mashing up things. A modular building like the grand emporium would be a great next set, or the all-time-classic haunted house that just came out.
Kids. Love. Minifigures. From a $50 set, my son will spend 90% of play time with the minifig. I think the CMF series should stand for Children (have) More Fun. Especially younger ones. The age at which kids are ready for the "real" Lego pieces and sets is a matter of minor dispute, but it really depends on the kid. As a cynical adult with a desiccated imagination, I could do without minifigs completely, I just love to build. But we gotta have little people and creatures to populate our buildings and fly our ships and talk to each other in high pitched play voices...
Yes, if you yourself have kindled a love for Lego, you will be best to keep "your" stuff separate from "theirs." Again, techniques (both spatial and psychological) for dealing with this are specific to your situation, but many of us here on Brickset are also parents, or AFoLPKFoL: Adult Fan of Lego Parenting Kid Fan of Lego. Or something. So this topic comes up frequently. I have done three primary things:
1. Select some sets (your favorites, the most expensive, whatever) for display only and put them out of reach
2. Select other sets for play and teach your kids that they are responsible for them, meaning they can do as they wish, even if they break or get lost...
3. Always have bulk Lego on hand for you and the kids to build with
these are hardly ironclad rules, just guidelines that have helped in my own household. Last but not least, welcome to Brickset and our "support group!"
Edit: here is a link and a link within the link to some reading you might enjoy
LEGO is great and like others have said it is whatever you really want it to be..
You can keep the sets as existing, create your own buildings, or just collect to collect. What is awesome is that you have kids to share experiences with and share the building with. Most of the stuff I have is sadly boxed up and stored in ziplock bags (for my loose sets) eventually I plan to be like others here and build a large LEGO layout with my trains included. Some people just build sets and display them in cases as well.
If you do want to add on to existing sets or build buildings with more parts you do not have, then you can shop.lego.com as it has 'pick a brick' section where you can get certain new parts from their online site. If you are near a LEGO store (Which you can find if locations are near you at lego.com) you can browse their pick a brick wall and fill up a cup (or cups/trays) of parts, OR Bricklink (www.bricklink.com) , which I think can be safely said has been a savior to most on here in regards to finding parts, sets, and figures, and of course eBay, but Bricklink is better to find lots of individual parts that may not be found on Lego's website.. and sometime a bit cheaper as well as seller have both used and new parts.
Again it is whatever you want to do with them..just do not step on them (cause it usually hurts) and do not get them into a garbage disposal. :-)
For kids 3-4, definitely pick up some of the Brick Buckets. My daughter loved her pink brick bucket at that age. Also, check your local Wal Marts, they are clearancing the Marina set from last year, and my daughter loves that set. You might be able to pick it up for 1/2 the MSRP if you are lucky. The Creator houses are also among my daughter's favorites.
As someone said above, you can't go wrong with Collectible Minifigs. The new wave has a bunch of female characters (cowgirl, skier, fairy, etc.).
One final tip, we have a rule in our house that you can't take apart anything you didn't build. Unfortunately my daughter wasn't great at following that rule at Age 3, and I'm still rebuilding sets a year later. So definitely keep that Harry Potter set out of reach, or only within reach for supervised play.
Other than that, have fun, this is a great hobby and nothing beats seeing my daughter walk up to me with her newest creation. This week it was a picnic table and tree, and they were really good considering the limited pieces she was working with.
My kids have a lot of patience and can keep their interest in building for a long time (at least for three-year-olds). I've been really happy how good my kids have been playing with my sets. They are really interested and they play nice, but their poor little fingers aren't coordinated enough to put together a lot of the small pieces. They really try though. They're also getting more creative with their Duplo.
If you don't mind me asking when is the best time to buy? Do you always try to buy from LEGO? I have read about double points on the forums. How often does that happen? The VIP points are nice, but there are sometimes better prices on Amazon even considering the points and with Amazon Prime things get here a lot faster. How often does the LEGO store offer free shipping? Should I jump on free shipping when I have the chance? Since I'm just starting I realize some of the sets I'm looking at might be gone soon. I've read they stick around for about two years? I am about 30 minutes away from a store, but I didn't buy my last set there because when I called they didn't have the one I wanted. It is also an all day event going to a huge mall with three preschoolers. Ebay is nice, but honestly, I could spend all day trying to land a great deal. I do look at craigslist too. Sorry if I should just search the forums for some of these questions. I have done some reading. I can't believe how much collecting goes on.
Thanks for the warm welcome.
This is a great forum, managed by great admins who keep the childish nonsense away. We are adults (and a few teens) who just love Lego and all around generally just try to help each other out and have lots of fun with our hobby (or addiction, depending on your view). :)
Most of us have kids, which is what got us back into Lego in the first place. I was buying Lego for my son who just turned 5 years old, and honestly had no idea they made Lego for adults. Walked into a Lego store at Christmas in 2010 and was floored at the amazing stuff they were making.
I was last into Lego in the 80s when I was a kid, and we had nothing back then like we have now! :)
A few bits of advice:
1. Don't buy current sets on eBay. There are a lot of scams on eBay with current sets (drop-shipping direct from Lego using stolen credit cards, it is a huge headache), just avoid them and save yourself a headache. Retired sets there are generally just fine.
2. Lego sets often rise in price after they retire. A recent example is the modular building line, 10182, 10185, 10190. That is Cafe Corner, Green Grocer, and Market Street. The current sets are 10197, 10211, 10218, and 10224. That is Fire Brigade, Grand Emporium, Pet Shop, and Town Hall.
The first three are retired and were about $150 each when new. They all go for over $500 now. 10197, Fire Brigade, is the next to retire, probably this Christmas. If you have any interest at all, now is the time.
3. Save the instructions, save the boxes, some instruction books from retired sets are worth over $100 all by themselves. A good condition set of instructions from 10179 (UCS Falcon) is worth over $200. The box from that set is worth about $200. Yes, just for the empty box.
Lego is a rare toy that has value, even used. You may never sell any of it, or you might, but give yourself the option.
4. Have lots of fun and keep posting here, and welcome again! :)
I have always opened mine and rarely save the boxes, as I never really though about resell value and so on. It amazes me that some $150 unopened modular is now pulling in $500+; however, I collected hockey cards and sketchcards for years, so it shouldn't be that much of a surprise.
I never considered LEGOs to be an investment, and honestly I don't have the room to stockpile unopened sets, but I can see why some like that side of the hobby.
The people here, in my short time as a member, have been a great resource. The acronyms, throwing around set numbers like it's part of normal language, that sort of stuff keeps me reading these forums every day.
Not that any of this qualifies me as an expert by any means, but my main recommendation is something so logical it should be a given: Find something that interests your children and go with that.
For my 5-year old, last year he was into trains and Toy Story franchise. An easy win there was 7597, and we added a few other Toy Story sets as well. Now he's in a space phase, I picked up 3367 recently.
Bottom line, keep them interested.
This may be obvious advice but unless you're absolutely desperate to get hold of a set when it comes out, wait a month or so and they often get discounted. Also use the price tracker here on brickset to get the best deals and you can sometimes, rarely, get savings of 50%+
Recently I got 10 sets of varying themes for about 70% off RRP at a local store because they were making room for newer sets - they sold out within an hour...
I buy mostly from Amazon or occasionally from the local toy stores as I like to give them business where possible. LEGO directly for me is generally too expensive due to shipping which is a shame and anything over 75 euro costs me an additional 12 euro for shipping whereas Amazon ships for free to my location.
Be warned - LEGO is addictive. :D
Your local shops may have fixed dates for LEGO-sales - around here (Denmark) we have a supermarket that always has a 40% off sale in the first week of August, and the (physical) LEGO shop always has a sale in January.
Buying direct from LEGO tends to be the most expensive solution - so unless you can't find a set anywhere else, try to avoid it. LEGO won't compete with their own large customers (supermarkets and toy-chains), so their own prices tend to be a bit higher.